This DVD will not be up for giveaway.
Given that I’ve reviewed the first 2 DVDs in this series, I figured it’s only fitting that I review Fire. However, this is one DVD I’m going to keep for myself — on account of sometimes, I need a reminder on what ass kicking feels like. Because while I made the mistake of openly declaring Earth and Water to be physically easy for me, I will not make the same mistake with Fire. Because I have now remembered what karma can do once you piss it off.
Specs for Total Yoga: The Flow Series — Fire:
Yoga Style: Vinyasa. And it seems to bear a pretty close — though not perfect — resemblance to traditional Ashtanga series.
Suited To: Experienced yogis, particularly those accustomed to fashioning their own modifications — as well as those comfortable with deeper backbends and inversions.
Props: A blanket is suggested for shoulderstand. I used it for headstand as well.
Run Time: 63 minutes from breath instruction through the guided portion of the relaxation.
Ideally, folks using this DVD would have practiced using the Water edition until they were comfortable with it. If that’s not possible, I’d suggest that folks using this DVD be comfortable with unmodified sun salutes, common standing poses, safe backbending practices, and inversions.
As its name suggests, Fire is a very fiery, energetic practice that assumes a certain amount of physical stamina as well as yoga knowledge from the people using it. The active portion is also about 15-20 minutes longer than are either of its previous counterparts.
Breathing — Same pranayama instruction as in Earth and Water.
Sun Salutes — In addition to those practiced in the Water DVD, Fire includes 3 rounds of the B-series sun salute — that is, the one that incorporates both chair pose and warrior one as part of the sun salute. In addition, all sun salutes are presented without modifications. If one is familiar with, say, bending knees during ardha uttanasana or dropping to one’s knees during chaturanga, those variations are quite easy to take. However, the explicit instructions in the DVD are for the “full” expressions of each pose only.
Standing Poses — This sequence is even longer than the Water series. Additionally, with Fire, all of the standing poses are taken as part of more sun salutes. I often take vinyasa classes that operate on this same practice; generally, they advise students that they should feel free to skip or modify vinyasas as they need. In the DVD, there was no explicit instruction to that effect, though again, actually doing it would be easy to incorporate. The standing poses include triangle, warrior two, extended side angle, half moon, warrior one, warrior three, and revolved triangle.
Core Work — Includes both lying boat (locust) and seated boat (navasana). Also includes some half sit ups as well as some lying leg raises.
Backbends — Camel, repeated twice. Then one series where bridge only is offered for the first option. For the second option, the instructions offer the choice of repeating bridge or moving to full wheel.
Floor Work — The forward bending segment is longer as well, including some standing forward folds, janu sirsasana, paschimottanasana, and a seated wide legged fold. (And bound angle? I remember bound angle in there somewhere.) There’s also a seated spinal twist as well as a seated hip opener with the option of moving into seated archer and/or putting one’s leg behind one’s head. (I already know that there is no fucking way my leg goes behind my head — at least not without placing strain on my ankle and my neck — so I did not attempt this.)
Inversions — The series starts with dolphin and offers the option of moving into headstand. For me, the hold length feels long for headstand (meaning sometimes I’ll come out early to play it safe with my neck) but is quite manageable for dolphin. Next, the series moves to shoulderstand, entered and exited through plow, practiced with a blanket. Finally, there’s fish: this DVD offers options for flying fish and/or fish with the legs in lotus.
Savasana — Like the other DVDs in this series, it’s long, partially guided, and fades off into music after the voice instruction.
Overall, I’d most want to recommend this for fairly experienced yogis. For one, some of the poses offered — wheel, the archer progression, headstand, some of the fish options — can be fairly involved. And while the instructions the DVD offers are by no means bad, they are also not pose tutorials — and I don’t think they’re meant to be. Similarly, all of those more involved poses come in the later portion of the practice, after some vigorous sun salute and standing work. So it requires some good gauging on whether it’s safe or serving to take every asana offered or whether some modification (either in the sun salutes or in the second part of the practice) is a better personal option.